Sunrun recently completed a rooftop solar installation at St. Mary’s Gardens, an affordable housing community in Oakland, California.
Built in 1979 by St. Mary’s Elderly Housing Corporation, a local nonprofit corporation, St. Mary’s Gardens offers 100 affordable-living homes to senior citizens aged 62 or over who qualify as very low or extremely low income. Sunrun installed solar panels on the apartment rooftops, providing tenants with 117 kW of solar power. The solar system generates enough energy to offset nearly two-thirds of tenants’ energy usage, saving each household about $35 per month on their electricity bill through virtual net metering.
“It is gratifying to connect affordable housing communities and families to a cleaner energy source and provide them with the many benefits that come with solar energy,” said Sunrun CEO Mary Powell. “Rooftop solar effectively removes the variable risk of energy inflation for affordable housing developments. We are proud to promote energy equity while delivering meaningful monthly savings to the residents of St. Mary’s Gardens.”
“Elderly citizens like myself are unfortunately often overlooked on energy issues,” said Joseph Wang, an 88-year-old St. Mary’s Garden resident. “As someone on a fixed income, $35 a month is a significant savings that will positively impact my life. I’m very proud of St. Mary’s staff for improving our buildings’ energy efficiency and making our neighborhood and community more sustainable with this solar installation.”
The completion of the St. Mary’s Gardens project marks a significant milestone as the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program’s first-ever Track A project, demonstrating the realization of community-backed clean energy solutions through public-private partnerships. The Asian Pacific Environmental Network, an early supporter of the creation of the SOMAH program in 2015, helped educate the majority of Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking residents at St. Mary’s Gardens about the benefits of solar energy. Committed to providing residents with free solar energy, the St. Mary’s board sought technical assistance from SOMAH’s program administrator in assessing the property’s solar potential, leading to the identification of Sunrun as an eligible installation partner.
The project was funded in part by the California Public Utilities Commission’s SOMAH Program. State funding comes from polluters who purchase greenhouse gas allowances under the state’s cap-and-trade program and is an example of California’s commitment to reducing the climate impacts of the built environment.
News item from Sunrun